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Reformageddon: Why Reform UK’s Absurd Plans Should Score 0% in 2024

Nigel Farage's pet project to cause a storm in British politics looks to be back up and running, with his beloved Reform UK Party gaining press traction at their conference on Wednesday the 3rd of January. We were even treated to a list of Reform's policy plans by its leader, Richard Tice – what a lovely way to start the New Year.

Tice had the cheek to take the mick out of UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's love of maths by marking Rishi's homework. Reform reckons that only one out of Rishi's five policy pledges has been achieved – that of halving inflation – a miserable 20% exam score.

Well, I'm delighted to say I've appointed myself as the external examiner responsible for marking Reform's policy proposals. And I'm afraid they've performed even worse, with a 0% pass rate when it comes to the common sense marking guidelines. Let me rip up each policy proposal in turn.

The first of Farage and Tice's cunning little plans is to cut taxes. We've heard this all before. But what we haven't heard before is anything of quite this scale. They want to lift the personal allowance from £12,571 to £20,000, meaning UK taxpayers will only pay tax on earnings over £20,000. I hope you were sitting down for that one – but even then, you've probably fallen out of your chair.

This policy is nothing more than a mega-vote winner. It's a classic taken to the extreme. A tax cut like that before a general election will win you a lot of votes – especially because the poorest could guard a whopping proportion of their earnings from the taxman. According to Reform, 6 million more people wouldn't have to pay any tax at all as a result.

So, you get to keep more of your money with Reform. It sounds good. But it doesn't when you do the maths, Richard Tice.

If 6 million people are no longer paying the 20% basic tax rate, we lose just over £15 billion a year in income tax. And that's assuming every one of those 6 million only earns the minimum taxable salary of £12,571. So, in truth, we'll lose a lot more than £15 billion.

All of this seems incredibly rich when Tice and Farage stand up and accuse the current government of having too much debt. Because unless Reform can save at least £15 billion somewhere else, they are hypocrites.

Ah, but wait. Reform also announced they want to cut government spending by £50 billion a year, which should make up for it. But are more public spending cuts wise when our NHS is already crippled, when junior doctors are asking for a 35% pay rise, and when Nigel Farage already moans about austerity Britain?

On finances, then, Reform UK are less trustworthy than a bank robber. But what about Brexit and immigration? Surely these are more within anti-Muslim Nigel's repertoire?

It seems not. Because here we arrive at the most ridiculous policy anyone has ever produced in a manifesto.

Reform UK's immigration policy is very simple. They want to freeze all non-essential immigration. Meanwhile, any other immigration should be one in, one out.

What is this, a Covid-19-era supermarket? I can see it now. At every port in the UK, we'll have a traffic light system installed, and you can only enter when the lights are green – which only happens when someone else has left. You must wear a mask in the 100-mile-long queue to prevent the spread of disease. You must stand two metres apart.

This is absurd. We'll have illegal immigrants queuing into the English Channel to enter Britain as if they're queuing for a rollercoaster.

Is this supposed to be a deterrent or a serious policy? Whatever it is, it will never work. What will we do, put signs up at various points in the queue saying '4-year wait from this point'? Forget looking at your watch in the queue at Disney Land; immigrants will be tearing days off the calendar to gauge the time they've spent queuing. Regardless, all queuing would have starved because an old stickler like Nigel won't dish out a Great British fish and chips and a pint of beer for free.

A one-in, one-out immigration policy is a thoughtless waste of time. It's either stupidity or an attempt to dumb down an extremely complex issue. But even if it is some sly trick, it remains stupid.

And the absurdity doesn't stop there because Reform's final policy is to scrap all net zero commitments. I understand why people think it's a waste of time that Britain is committing to reducing carbon emissions – at great time and expense – when China, India and America are still churning out 52% of the world's greenhouse gases. But if we all take that approach and nobody does anything, we'll only die sooner.

Scrapping net zero commitments is irresponsible and would completely undermine our progress so far. But then, this is perhaps the perfect metaphor for Nigel Farage himself. Every time the man rears his head, he threatens to undo any progress we've made since we last batted him away. Yes, past Conservative and Labour governments have failed to deliver on all their promises. But at least they're trying to achieve sensible, positive outcomes – not ludicrous ones.

So, I've reached the end of my assessment of Reform UK's policy proposals, and their score of 0% rings loud and true. Let's just hope Reform will also score 0% in the 2024 UK General Election; otherwise, you can kiss common sense goodbye forever in a world of Reformageddon.

Image: Getty Images/via iNews

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